We are Saana ja Olli, a designer couple and a  design company from Turku, Finland. We produce our own 100% hemp textile collection manufactured transparently in Southwestern Finland. We have released several collections, done design work for various international clients and has been involved on various design projects in different continents. Japan is a special place for us. When we were in school, Saana lived in Kyoto and we have backpacked in Japan several times. For us Artist Residency Swap was a great opportunity to get to know and live in new areas in Japan.

We swapped apartments with Yuna from Kanazawa, Japan. Yuna arrived to Finland just before Christmas, and we showed our house and best things in our hometown Turku to her. Yuna was a lovely person and we got along really well.

We arrived in Kanazawa on a January morning just when the blizzard took upoa a town. The amount of snow was equal to Lapland.

Kanazawa is a Japanese town of 460 000 population. It is the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture, and second lagest city (after Kyoto) to survive the aerial bombings in World War Two. Consequently, parts of the old castle town, such as the Nagamachi samurai district have survived in pretty good condition. The old building and riversides reminded us about our hometown Turku and also Kyoto.

We lived in Yuna’s apartment with her lovely crazy cat Kuroe. When we arrived Kuroe had re-decorated the shoji doors, but she was very friendly for us from the start and already on the first night slept on our feet. Hopefully some day we will meet again!

Yuna’s apartment had a great view over the city and into the mountains. Perfect scenery to listen to Kanazawa drone musician Asuna’s music.

Recommendable places in Kanazawa: Kenrokuen gardens (Japan’s most celebrated landscape garden.), Finnish cafe Kuppi, lovely vegan bento restaurant Niginigi and coffee house Chomsky that are on a same location, zen philospher D.T.Suzuki Museum by Yoshio Taniguchi (2011), Kanazawa 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, onsens, professor Mori’s private library cafe Sanki Bunko in his 100-year old house by the river & Baraya – a 7 seat bar run by great guy Yuki-san at the back streets of Kiguramachi.